When to call the doctor for your newborn

When to call the doctor for your newborn

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If it's your first time caring for a newborn, how can you tell what's normal and what's not? Here's a quick list of symptoms that may signal a problem in the first couple of days at home. If you spot one, call your doctor right away. If the doctor's office is closed, the answering service should direct you to an advice nurse, the doctor on call, or an urgent care clinic. And of course, if your baby has any other symptom that worries you, play it safe and make the call.


Signs that your newborn is not getting enough fluids include:

  • Fewer than three wet diapers per day
  • Acting excessively sleepy or lethargic
  • Dry mouth and lips

Poop problems

  • No bowel movement in the first 48 hours at home
  • Whitish mucus in the stool
  • Streaks or flecks of red, which are signs of blood in the stool

High or low temperature

  • A rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or lower than 96.8 degrees F

Breathing problems

Signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Grunting
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Chest retractions (sucking in the skin above the collarbone, between the ribs, or below the ribs)
  • Consistently fast breathing
  • Heavy, noisy breathing (audible wheezes, whistling sounds, or crackly sounds during inhalation and exhalation)

NOTE: If your baby is taking more than 60 breaths per minute or turning blue around the mouth, call 911.

Umbilical cord stump problems

  • Any odor, pus, or persistent bleeding from the umbilical cord stump
  • Any redness or swelling around the navel, which could be a sign of an infection


  • Yellow color in the eyes, chest, abdomen, arms, or legs

Prolonged crying

  • Unconsolable crying for longer than half an hour

Extreme sleepiness

  • A sleepy baby who will not wake up enough to feed three or four hours after the last feeding

Signs of illness

  • Coughing, diarrhea, or paleness
  • Forceful vomiting at more than two feedings in a row

Poor appetite or suck

  • Feeding fewer than six times in a 24-hour period
  • Sucking that becomes noticeably weaker

For more information:

  • Find out when to call the doctor for your baby during the first year.
  • Test your knowledge about when to call the doctor for your baby by taking our quiz.

Watch the video: How To Calm A Crying Baby - Dr. Robert Hamilton Demonstrates The Hold Official (May 2022).

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